Last week – I reviewed some styles of clasps for you – we mention that there are the:
These week – let’s carry on with the:
- box clasp
- barrel clasp
- magnetic clasps,
- others too hard to categorize 😉
The box clasp is the most difficult and complicated of the clasps to make – often involving quite a bit of hand fabrication – unlike the others – which can be either cast or machine-made. So they frequently are quite a bit pricier. However – for a very professional finishing touch – they can be quite fabulous. Due to their higher cost of fabrication – they are usually only available in the higher value metals, such as sterling or vermeil – but we have had some in polished brass in the past. Generally – they consist of a box-like container side (hence the name) and a springy clasp that snaps into position. They are very secure – unless the lever side gets bent or doesn’t snap into place – be sure and listen for the click when you close it and give it a little tug to make sure it caught. They work equally well in necklaces and bracelets.
They are also often the style most likely to have a stone or pearl set into them. Finding a clasp that matches or coordinates with your creation is a score – it make the finished piece look very polished and well put-together.
The barrel clasp is one that I put in a category by itself – I personally loathe these. You may have better luck with them – but I have lost more jewelry to these nasty little b—–s than any other style. They screw together – which is fine, but while you are wearing them, as they roll up and down on your skin, they tend to unscrew – and fall off. I wouldn’t suggest using them on any piece of jewelry that you cared about unless you included a safety chain.
A safety chain is simply a short length of chain that permanently attaches one end of the jewelry to the other. For a bracelet – it can be very short – it just needs to be long enough to allow you to get your hand through the bracelet – and then do it up. It then hangs as a loop while the bracelet is closed – but if it accidentally comes undone – then it will retain the bracelet – hopefully long enough for you to notice and retrieve it and refasten it. This is a good option on very expensive pieces. It is less common on necklaces – as you would have to leave it fairly long on a short necklace – so that you can still slide the necklace on over your head – and messing up you hair in the process.
Magnetic clasps have a magnet inside them that keeps them closed. Magnets stick to each well when being pulled straight out – but can be slid apart to the side fairly easily – so the better magnetic clasps have a small nub or shelf that prevents them from sliding sideways. To open these – pry a fingernail into them, and twist and lift them open. They can be great for stiff fingers that find struggling with a clasp difficult. However – on bracelets – in the winter – they are frequently not up to the task of overcoming the resistance of being pulled off along with parkas, sweaters, and other cold weather gear. In this case – a safety chain is a very good idea, but check first that the chain does not have a steel base – hold it up to the magnet. It’s very annoying to have the chain stick to the clasp all the time. (At least it keeps it out of the way.) I personally find working with magnetic clasps annoying – as anyone who has listened to me swear at them sticking to the cutters, pliers, tools, etc. can attest.
And – in case you aren’t aware – NEVER combine a magnetic clasp with a pacemaker.
We’ve seen the snap clasp – a simple snap closure – borrowed from the garmet industry – most often seen on heavily beaded items.
Tube clasps are related to the box clasp – with a tube-shaped hollow box, and a frequently spring loaded rod that slides inside. These sometimes have a magnet as well to make them more secure. These are wonderful multistrand clasps and are quite easy to put on.
This sliding safety clasp is a hybrid between the box clasp and the hook and eye. Like the box clasps – it has a hollow compartments and a spring loaded lever – but it also hooks around a post, so that if it opens up – it does not fall off.
That about wraps it up for clasps – everything you ever wanted to know, and a whole whack besides. 😉